‘I don’t think I will be famous, not at all. It would be frightening, I’d go mad.’ So says a healthy looking, teenage Amy Winehouse in the new documentary about her, directed by Asif Kapadia who previously made the brilliant Senna.
The fact that the film is simply entitled ‘Amy’ and the poster features her trademark eye makeup proves that her prediction was wrong.
Amy became known with her first album Frank and famous with her second, the classic Back to Black. Unfortunately, after the massive success of the latter, she continued to be very famous for her drug addictions, her destructive relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil and her tragic death at age 27. Fielder and her father Mitch don’t come out well from this account of her life although they are not the worst of villains because, at points their own less than happy lives do elicit some sympathy.
Most of all, however, this film is about Amy and her great talent.
Before the premiere, Kapadia said he wanted people to see the real, healthy girl behind the cartoon image, to see what a brilliant writer she was, what a talent and why things ended up as they did.
Things ended up with Amy dying young, her slight body ravaged by drugs and booze. As with the way he depicted Senna’s untimely death, Kapadia brings us into the tragedy of the loss without sensationalizing it.
Sadly, Amy did not live to see her idol, Tony Bennett make the observation; life teaches you how to live it if you live long enough.